Cutting Edge > Hydrogeology > Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013 > Teaching Activities > An integrated view of the Glendale Landscape

An integrated view of the Glendale Landscape

Kaye Savage, Wofford College

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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

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This page first made public: Jun 6, 2013

Summary

Students work in groups to develop posters that communicate their concept of landscape following several field labs (soils, sediment analysis, river discharge, vegetation survey, aquatic life) at one location. They must consider four categories: landscape interactions, landscape history, life, and perspectives/communication.

Context

Audience

Undergraduate environmental science course at 200 level in an Environmental Studies program. Prerequisite is the interdisciplinary course "Introduction to Environmental Studies."

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Activities and concepts from prior field exercises and class material related to space and time, soils, sediment transport, river discharge, vegetation, aquatic ecology.

How the activity is situated in the course

Culminating project; teams present the digital posters during the last lab period of the semester.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

relationships among biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and anthroposphere in landscape development.
consideration of multiple spatial and temporal scales in the context of landscape.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

synthesis of diverse concepts
development of conceptual diagrams

Other skills goals for this activity

working in groups
developing graphical elements and overall design for posters
oral communication (explaining a poster)

Description and Teaching Materials

Student groups prepare digital posters; they may use two supporting slides to elaborate on the overview. The idea is for students to integrate topics from throughout the semester to develop and communicate their understanding of landscape in a particular setting. They have three "free" lab periods during which to develop their ideas and collect additional data. The site we use is our Environmental Studies field station and the surrounding 20 acres. Deadlines for various aspects of the project occur throughout the semester.
The attached files include (1) assignment overview (MS Word); (2) team and self evaluation form (MS Excel); (3) point allocation scheme (MS Word).

Poster Project: Integrated view of landscape (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 121kB Apr29 13)
Assessment of Landscape poster assignment (Microsoft Word 41kB Apr29 13)
Self- and team evaluation sheet (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 30kB Apr29 13)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This is a project with considerable latitude. The assignment and team membership should be introduced early in the semester. Because there is so much freedom in the content, students will need to decide how they will frame their ideas in a coherent manner. Identifying common interests among the group members early in the course can help them focus. I also provide a list of equipment available for them to use during their "free" lab times.

It may be useful to have students do a "strengths quest" type of analysis (available through career services on some campuses) so they can anticipate complications related to group dynamics and plan their working group style.

Students will need reminders to consider how each field lab at the site will feed into their project. Guidance for poster preparation and how to "walk through" a poster orally is needed.

Assessment

Please see assessment documents.

References and Resources

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